Page last updated at 17:43 GMT, Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Forged document students expelled

Newcastle University
Almost 50 students have been thrown out of the university

Dozens of foreign students have been told to leave Newcastle University after the certificates they used to gain entry were found to be forged.

Most of the 49 Chinese students, along with one Taiwanese pupil, had enrolled on business studies courses which they started in September.

But lecturers became suspicious when they were unable to keep up with work.

Their applications were rechecked and forged English language and degree certificates were discovered.

The forgeries, mainly certificates for English language qualifications or degrees awarded by other universities, were of such high quality that they had not been detected by the usual checks.

We would strongly advise other universities to look very carefully at the systems they have in place to detect fraudulent applications
Newcastle University

They have all been handed to the police and the Home Office has also been informed.

Newcastle University said many of the students appeared to be victims of bogus agents based either in China or the UK and who were paid to submit applications, including supporting documents, on their behalf.

However, it was necessary to exclude them to protect the interests of hundreds of properly qualified students, and the reputation of the university.

A number of changes to admissions procedures will now be made, including publishing a list of approved agents on the university's website.

A University spokesman: "We would strongly advise other universities to look very carefully at the systems they have in place to detect fraudulent applications and to strengthen them if necessary.

"At Newcastle we have a team of people who are experienced at assessing applications, though we recognise that fraud can be very difficult to identify regardless of the systems in place.

"The nature of fraud changes over time so we are alert to the possibility of new avenues, and adjust our procedures accordingly."



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